A Poem By Wesley Rothman

Like a Prayer

Everyone must stand alone
with other loners. The black lace

veils from every other chapel-
goer, all the doves mourning

a boy-star petered out too soon.
Heaven help me slip through

the bars of this brick house
shattered by blue light, glum moon

fidgeting with shadow. The boy’s
black light vision. His sideways

ways of painting wings, crowns,
anointed words and words

backtracked. Track back
a beginning, what the cave muralists

meant. Not the death of the beast
but the brilliant red, the rigid white

of bones. Raise folded hands
and a fur-gilded skull. Crown yourself

with horns, most elegant weapons.
And with slowly going embers

listen to angels’ hushed sighing.
Martyr me with paint, boy. Make it last.



Wesley Rothman’s poems have appeared in The Rumpus, Vinyl, Crab Orchard Review, 32 Poems, and elsewhere. He teaches at Emerson College and Suffolk University.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.